Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner go back to their days in the Pac-10 Conference, when Capers was at California and Turner was at Southern Cal. Sunday, they'll match wits again, as the Packers and Chargers square off in an attractive interconference game at Qualcomm Stadium.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect," Capers said. "This is one of the best offenses we'll face all year."
The Chargers are on a two-game losing streak. They are coming off a gut-wrenching loss on Monday night in Kansas City and at 4-3 and facing two games in five days, they are at a crossroads in their season. Capers has no doubt the Packers will get the best the Chargers have to offer on Sunday.
"They give you a lot of movement, a lot of shifting. They're not going to end up in what they show you," Capers said of the Chargers, a high-tech offense that features quarterback Philip Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates and a couple of big, talented wide receivers.
"(Vincent) Jackson looks like a tight end and Malcom Floyd is a big, tall guy. They have a lot of weapons. They've moved the ball on everybody," Capers said.
Had it not been for a fumble in Kansas City when the Chargers were jockeying into position for a game-winning field goal, the Chargers would be playing for the No. 1 spot in the AFC this weekend. As it stands, they might be playing for their playoff lives.
"All they have to do is look at the tape," Capers said of his players' preparation for this game. "You look at (Mike) Tolbert run and you better bring it because he's like a bowling ball. Norv has a commitment to the running game," Capers said.
The Chargers are considered to be a pass-first team, which is underscored by their No. 6 pass-offense ranking, but they are 13th in rush-offense, which is high for a team that wants to throw the ball.
Rivers is one of the game's elite quarterbacks, but a flurry of early-season interceptions have dropped his passer rating to the ranks of the pedestrian quarterbacks. That's not likely to continue.
He'll be facing a Packers defense that is ranked 31st against the pass, and the Chargers will no doubt test that ranking.
"We're right in line with points given up. Where we're out of whack is yardage, because of big plays. Third down has been an issue for us; third down is not as good. The last two years we were a top 10 team on third down," Capers said in evaluation of his defense.
"We've taken the ball away and we've been good in the red area. People have moved the ball down the field and we've tightened in the red area."
That's a formula for tempting fate; Capers doesn't want to do that this week against a Chargers offense that is seeking a breakout game. Additional coverage - Nov. 4